Monday, February 28, 2011

Play Time; Art Class; Angry Birds

I'm learning things as time goes on. For instance, I've learned not to fear the play date. Rather, not so much the play 'date', because that sounds silly to say for the big kids - but them having friends over. I'm starting to realize just how awesome that can be.

Having 4 so close together, the LAST thing I wanted for a long time was to have MORE KIDS here. And when everyone was younger, that was probably a valid feeling for a lot of reasons - if Evie and William had people over, they'd invariably wake up my nappers, or make a giant mess and not want to clean it up, yadda yadda. I don't have nappers anymore, and the weekend days can get long. And while my kids can enjoy each other for a bit, by Sunday afternoon they're ready for some diversion.William had some friends over last Sunday afternoon and everyone got along fabulously well - the little kids enjoyed having differnet bigger kids around to goof off with, and Evie and I had some girl time and baked brownies for everyone to snack on. And happily, by this age they aren't so much into just dumping stuff all over the floor anymore.

I think we're really coming into a good place now. Sarah and Jason play so well together - as long as it's not in the first 15 minutes we're home after picking up Sarah from preschool and I'm making her lunch - Sybill's in da house and she's not going anywhere until her tummy is full and sweet Sarah reappears. But once they've had their lunch, they pretty much entertain each other for a good bit of the afternoon until Evie and William come home from school.
One day recently they upended the ottoman on its side and had all the Littlest Pet Shops out and all lined up. There are a ton of them - these are just Sarah's, Evie's are up in her room (and yes, she still loves to play with them at 9, which kind of surprises me). Anyway.
I knew Sarah and Jason were playing Pet Shops while I was in the other room doing I have no idea what - the days fly by in a blur as we work on the bathroom and I try to track down the last few variables online - and I came into the family room to find both of them shirtless.
I have no idea why. Maybe they were hot?
Is this a cheesecake picture or what??
I can't imagine being comfortable walking around the house and playing with no shirt on. Just the idea of it makes me laugh :)
They were stuffing the carriage and pet carrier as full as they could get them.
Anyway - Sarah and Jason obviously had a fabulous time playing this little game for quite a while, and I love just listening to them talk and play together & seeing what they come up with. Sarah's a hoot, and Jason's becoming quite a character himself - one of these days I'll put up a video of him telling some jokes :)
Back in January I quit fighting Evie and let her quit taking piano lessons. At the time I was really bummed about it, as she really was quite good when she put forth the effort to practice, but it had become such a source of argument between us that I finally just decided it wasn't worth it. Maybe she'll go back someday, maybe she won't, but either way, she had the option to try and she decided she was done. So I signed her up for an acrylic painting class through the county rec center and local art studio and THIS is her first painting!!!!:
Girlfriend has some TALENT! The studio has you bring in some pictures you'd like to paint & they help you choose one, this was the cover of a Humphrey the hamster book , and I am just blown away by how it turned out. I wasn't going to sign her up for the next class because soccer starts soon, but after seeing this, I really don't see how I can't - this is a girl who doodles on any flat surface she can and is constantly drawing animals. So - when she's famous, you can all say 'I knew her when....' :)
We've gotten into the habit - for better or worse - of playing videos on our iphones for the little two at bedtime. It started with Matt playing Sinatra songs for Sarah and has evolved into watching Goofy videos or something on YouTube, and now Jason wants one now and then too - as if we don't watch enough tv around here. Anyway - I think I've mentioned Jason's love of Angry Birds, not only does he like to play Angry Birds, he likes to watch walk-throughs of other people playing Angry Birds. Tonight I stumbled on this gem and really felt I had to share it with you all. If you have time, watch it and laugh like I did :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bathroom Remodel Part 4 - Crappy Video Tour of Plumbing Rough-in :)

Late post, technical difficulties, life goes on, right? Call me the Inconsistent Blogger. Anywho - it's very, very difficult to take pictures in our oddly shaped bathroom & have them really convey anything, so today I tried using my Flip. And I rotated it, so it would be 'upright' & film the room better, but of course YouTube thought the video was sideways. So when I rotated the video, they cropped it to fit & well - this is what you get. If I was going to do this right, I'd spend hours fixing it, but who has that kind of time? It is what it is. So! Watch it, or not, and next time I'll have pictures. The tile man comes on Monday!!!!  Disclaimer - I am not a professional speaker, so ignore any odd mannerism - k thx bye :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Randomness from the past week or so...

 My head is spinning from all the sneezing I've been doing. Matt ripped out a fair amount of our bathroom this weekend, and he completely emptied his closet - future home of my laundry room  - out, as the plumbers arrive Monday morning! Needless to say, my bedroom looks like a bomb went off, but things like this always look worse before they look better. We moved in here 8 years ago, closets are overdue for a clean out. Anywho! I'll save any more bathroom talk for Thursday, let's see what we've been up to, via iphone pictures!

Sarah entertained herself with her princess flashlight by sticking it in her mouth and making it glow red...
 I took Jason to Evie's school's second quarter honor roll celebration...
My sweet girl always thinks of me and brings me coffee whenever it is served from a ginormous urn with powdered creamer - you know, like at the church fellowship hour and and the honor roll celebration - and she always makes it extra sweet, just like she likes it :) And as always, whenever I'm at Evie's school, I get the 'YOU LOOK JUST LIKE EVIE!' from kids I don't know. This time Jason got it too :)
 It was about 70 degrees late in the week last week, and Sarah and Jason enjoyed getting outside for a bit and playing. All last summer, all Sarah could talk about was, 'when is it going to snow' - and now all she wants to know is 'when can we go to the pool'. Fickle pickle!

The Borders bookstore here is going out of business, and since the big kids each had gift cards, we stopped in on Saturday afternoon. William had $10 to spend, and he got a kit on how to make Origami, and he picked out this workbook:
Evie found William asleep on the couch Sunday morning around 7am surrounded by origami animals. He said he'd come down around 1am. As of 7pm, he'd half-way finished his workbook on multiplication and wants to know if he can get the next level when he's finished. Um, sure, if that's what you want!

I waited in line for almost an hour to make our purchase, and amused myself with taking pictures of things and texting them to people who share my love of all things Twilight. I resisted buying the Edward accessory bag...
 as well as the Edward bookmark. They were out of the Edward lunchbox, but did have Jacob - hmmm, I wonder why they only had Jacob left?
 and then there was this piece of fine writing that I did manage not to purchase...
All in all, I really wanted that hour of my life back. Although William apparently is enjoying his haul, so maybe it was worth it.
 I've had someone express an interest in some Twilight bottle caps, and while hunting down ideas on the interwebs, I stumbled across THIS!!!! HOW have I not seen this before???
Yes, it's a paper RPattz! It's a printable thingy that you cut out and put together and then do I don't know what with. But I had to make one! Not to keep for myself of course - I will be passing this along to a friend :) But if you'd like one for your very own and have some sharp tiny scissors and 30 minutes to kill, go HERE and then click the underlined 'AQUI!' to print one out :) 
The always fabulous Vivienne at The V Spot  tagged me this week with a meme - see if you can spot my lie out of this list of 6 things - 5 true, 1 not:
  1. I learned to scuba dive at 15 and have been swimming with sea horses, barracuda, sea turtles, and eels.
  2. I love online shopping. It's so much easier than dragging my little people all over the place while I hunt stuff down. And there's something about a package arriving at my door that makes me happy :)
  3. Tearing out the bathroom and all that is making me giddy! I would flip houses in a heartbeat if I thought we could manage it. That day may be coming...
  4. I was first runner up in our local Junior Miss Pageant way back in the dinosaur days.Which was fine with me, going to the state pageant would have been too stressful.
  5. I always imagined I would have 4 kids, just the way we did - 2 boys and 2 girls - the more the merrier!
  6. My Harley's for sale because I'm afraid of taking it over 25 mph. And my hands go numb from my carpal tunnel. not a good combination.
And this is where I will be totally lame and not tag anyone - or, I tag everyone! Srsly - I haven't been reading enough blogs recently to know who's done this and who hasn't, so if it sounds like fun to you, pick up the ball and run with it, and let me know so I can come over and try to spot your lie :)

Happy Monday! And Happy Me, if you're reading this after 8am EST, the plumbers should be here doing their thing :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

White Belt; Deconstruction; My Shop

The Karate Kids have earned their white belts! Or I guess, the Tae Kwon Do kids have earned their white belts. It's so much easier to say Karate, isn't it? Anyway - Evie and William started taking Tae Kwon Do back in January, and have been 'no belts' up to this point, so their shirts have been flapping around loosely at practice twice a week :) This Friday their school was doing belt testing, and Matt got these action photos while I was at ballet with Sarah!
Bowing at the start
And they passed!
Evie was nervous before school that morning, but with no reason, they both did a terrific job. The belt ceremony is next Friday, so I guess their shirts will continue to flap around them for a few more days :)
A brief update on the bathroom, we've confirmed the plumbers for the week of the 21st, so Matt got started on the bathroom today - first up, widening the doorway to my future laundry room! The 24" doorway isn't big enough to get a 27" washer and dryer in there, so we're (or rather HE) is replacing the door. Which means ripping out the old frame & replacing it with a wider rough opening, and of course moving the light switches that were in his closet.
Go Matt!
We also relocated my shoes out of my closet this weekend, to make way for his clothes. I am so incredibly lucky to have inherited this gorgeous piece of furniture from my mother (she passed along a lot of her antiques when she remarried) - this wardrobe was made by my great-great grandfather a LONG LONG time ago, he was a cabinet maker and at one point made Victrola cabinets for RCA.
It is really a gorgeous piece of furniture & Matt is very respectful of its history so when he made shelves this weekend so we could store my shoes in it, he made them without attaching them on the inside so if we ever want to take them out, no harm done. And LOOK at all that empty space I have left! Clearly, I need more shoes!  
But really - we have just begun the process of REALLY deconstructing the bathroom, and things are going to get much, MUCH worse before they begin to get better. But I figure this is a good exercise for us, we've lived here for 8+ years now and really - what do you do with stuff you don't know what else to do with but may need SOMEDAY? You stuff it in your closet. Surely we have a lot of junk we can just get rid of, right? At least that's what I'm telling myself. Stay tuned! Next weekend we rip out the shower!
So, I bought like a hundred bottle caps a few weeks ago and really - how many caps can Evie make and wear herself? And we have this big bathroom renovation to pay for - lol! like I can do that with bottle caps :) - but seriously - I have a ton of them, and I find that they're fun to make, so I made up a bunch and set up an online store in case anyone wants to buy one or ten (if you want 10, send me an email and we'll talk)...I'm going with the free version of the store at the moment and can only list 5 items, but I'm open to customizing in case you want a set of 6 Twilight refrigerator magnets, or fluffy bunny necklaces or perhaps a coffee cup is more your speed? Anyway - when you're finished reading, click on the pic for the link to my shop...

 . ..I'll try to make it more official looking as time allows. Free versions of most anything are either limited or total crap, but I promise my bottle caps are nice and I will actually mail them to you, don't be afraid of the chintzy set up :) If anyone knows how to make a logo, let me know - 'cause I have no idea how at the moment, and honestly I'm up to my neck in figuring out bathroom tile. And whining 4 year olds. I hope you have a Happy Valentine's Day :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Jason loves his blankie. He's like Linus, dragging his blankie behind him as he walks around the house. If I let him, I think he'd take Blankie everywhere.
In fact, he loves his blankie so much, he takes pictures of it with my phone.
86 pictures. I counted.
During church on Sunday he had my phone, and at one point was scrolling through the photo album looking for his pictures of blankie.
If you can't have the real thing, a picture will do, right?
I love the fact that his feet are in most of these pictures. I never think to take pictures of their feet or hands.
And now, we've relocated blankie to another room and continue to take pictures of 'him'...

I was walking on the treadmill Tuesday and Jason couldn't find blankie.
He was walking around the house calling 'blankie, blankie!' - as if it would say 'hey, I'm over here!'
I really want to be three again - back when having your blankie and a kiss from mom made everything alright in the world.
Photos courtesy of Jason :)
Today I'd like to as that you go HERE and pray for this little girl and her family. And when you're done crying, go hug your kids and remember that as crazy as life may seem, others are dealing with stuff like that. God help them. And thank you.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Bathroom Remodel Part 3 - Serious Scope Creep

We're gearing up here to really tear apart our master bathroom, only a brief 11 months after we started this project :) I really, really would like to have the bulk of this finished before spring soccer starts late next month, but we'll see - time's a ticking, and we are experiencing Serious Scope Creep (SSC, you may see this again at some point).

So we've talked to tile people, and then went looking for frameless shower doors at Home Depot. I want frameless because it eliminates caulk and lots of nooks and crannies for gunk and such to build up. While there, we saw a picture of something like this:

Our bathroom has the same layout, only we have a full wall between the tub and shower and the shower is a fiberglass insert or something. We were planning on just ripping out the stall surround that's in there & tiling the 3 walls, but now's the time to consider stuff like this, right? Right. So we're talking about it, and discussing the fact that taking out the wall next to the tub, like what you see above, would require all the plumbing to be moved to the opposite wall, backing up to Matt's closet. Well, I say, if we're going to do all that, we might as well move the washer and dryer up from downstairs and turn your closet into a laundry room. Nice of me to take over his closet, right? :) But in all seriousness, this is something we've discussed before. Our laundry room is about a 6ft square room that opens from the hall (and I used the word 'hall', but it's more like 'narrow aisle') between the kitchen & dining room, and leads to the garage. It's so small and tight it's hard to even get pictures of it:

Above you can see where the kids' coats and shoes are stuffed. It's tight now, and they are only going to get bigger, with bigger coats. So as I said, we've discussed this before, but never went beyond that because it would have involved opening walls, calling plumbers, yadda yadda. But since we're opening the wall anyway, now's the time if we're going to do it. Of course, I got all excited, imagining what I could do with my future 'mud room'....
and dreaming of my new front loading washer and dryer - because the only way this will work is to stack them, as Matt's closet really isn't all that big. Oh, and have I mentioned that we'll have to replace the closet door (below) with one that's 3 inches wider just to get a washer/dryer into the room?

I'm convinced it will be all worth it though - my tiny kitchen will benefit because we will be able to put shelves up in the mud room & get all those big things that I rarely use & currently have stuffed in cabinets out of there, freeing up kitchen space (something we desperately need, but that's a story for another day) and my dining room will benefit by not being my main laundry folding station two to three days out of the week.

The plumber threw me for a loop last week, asking for specs on the W/D we hadn't picked out yet, and they want the shower fixtures in hand for the rough-in. As plumbing is up first (we're doing the demo), I have tasked Matt with figuring that all out while I try to figure out tile. I'm neck deep in magazines...

..and have probably 50 tabs open on the internet with various pictures of tile. I'm liking this for the floor...
...and we're doing white subway tile on the walls. We've almost settled on a vanity, and of course need to rework my closet to fit Matt's clothes in -my shoes are being evicted to make space for his clothes ;0

So that's where we're at! I'm waking up in the morning from dreams about tile, wood colors and kitchens, and I look forward to sharing some progress here soon. Hopefully. As someone said to me last week, remodeling is like a disease - it keeps spreading and cropping up in other places :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Crafty! Bottle cap magnets

Ok so I know it's Thursday afternoon - but it's still Thursday, so that counts :) Here's how I made bottle cap magnets with the girls.

First, using the paper of your choice, punch out a one inch circle with your handy one inch circle punch that you already have (or, if you're at all like me, the one you ordered online specifically for this purpose because it would be too tedious to make one inch circles and then cut them out). Next!
Choose the embellishment - jewel, gem, whatever - (the cupcake was a scrapbook brad that I clipped the prongs off of). Or, you may have already chosen this prior to punching out your paper. Next!
Glue your paper circle to your bottle cap. If you're lucky, you can buy bottle caps in small quantities at your local craft store. I wasn't lucky, and ended up ordering 100 linerless (this is key, you don't want a rubber circle on your cap!) caps online for my project. Next!
Fasten your embellishment to your paper. I've used stickers, and also glued gems & such on with tacky glue. Next!
Apply a nice coat of 3D Crystal Lacquer. Again, I had to order this online. Someone said online that a 4oz bottle will do about 75 bottle caps. Next!
 This is what it will look like with a good coating of the crystal lacquer. It will dry clear, nice and shiny, without any bubbles if you were careful when you applied it :) DON'T TOUCH IT for about 24 hours. Next!
Once the cap is dry, glue a magnet on the back. I chose 1/2" by 1/8" magnets, but 1/2" by 1/4" might be better. I'm still fiddling with glues, but so far Gorilla Super Glue seems to bond the best and dry the fastest. Rough up the surface of the cap on the back before you glue it on.
And that's it! Evie REALLY had fun making these, and she seems to be under the impression that all 100 caps are for her. Um, no. These are the ones she's made for herself...

These are Sarah's caps that she designed and I helped her with...
...and these are the caps that I made for a friend from college! She saw my picture of them on Facebook and asked me to make 13 for party favors for her daughter's birthday :) Yay! I was thrilled to be asked to do this, as they really are fun to do and I have PLENTY of supplies now lol!

I'm actually thinking of doing a table at our town's craft market this summer & seeing if there's any interest - we'll see! I have to say, and Matt & Evie agree - I think these look better than the ones we've bought for the girls. Have fun if you give it a shot yourself, or I'll be happy to make one for you :)

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